(Note: I have cited in italics some of the comments to which I refer, but others can be found under the original post)
In view of the wonderfully enlightening and insightful comments, I felt this subject deserved another visit. And rather than address each one in the comment form, I think it helpful and more likely to engender more thought here in another blog.
There seems to be a general (if not total) consensus that there are several factors at play here.
First and foremost, the “bullshit” quotient – which Buffalo brings up and which many concur with – including me. I concluded some time ago that it was physically impossible in terms of reality for ANYONE to have the sheer number and variety of “encounters” described in some of those silly writings. Not and actually have a real time life – you know, jobs, housework, kids, family, friends – the sort of mundane things that most of us actually deal with on a day to day basis! The fantasy of endless erotic play, extended and frequent flogging sessions, the never-ending priapism just don’t ring true after repetition day after day after day.
In this context, some of the more extreme descriptions of what is termed BDSM play are also suspect – albeit I am well aware that extreme BDSM play does exist and occur (I’m not arguing that)- but I find it easy to discern the reality versus the fantasy if you read regularly as after an extreme session, the “real” person usually is quite straightforward about the recovery period required and the ongoing effects – our bodies, when all is said and done – ARE flesh and require a certain period time to recover!
Second, the fantasy element is also obvious when one looks at the many insightful comments.
Christina’s experience for instance is I think a common one. Thank god that she and others are savvy enough and have enough self-esteem to refuse congress with someone who demands unprotected sex yet admits to multiple partners!
I think Sara hits a very salient point in that many individuals accept abuse under the guise of BDSM play due to emotional issues. As I said in my first blog- I don’t deny these individuals the right to garner whatever satisfaction they can from what are in essence, abusive relationships in sheep’s clothing – but at the same time I am not going to be one of the crowd watching the naked emperor stroll by and pretend he is clothed. As Sara says, “Bottom line, while I don't think you can peg one particular practice as good or bad, I believe there IS a difference between healthy and not healthy, sane and insane, and BDSM doesn't fundamentally change those lines.”
“It is done because it can be so.” insightful Liras points out and she is absolutely correct. A lot of its DOES happen simply because it can.
“I call it abuse, they call it love and fulfilled passion.” she goes on to state and again, I can’t argue. Nor do I have the right to step in and try to “correct” what I see as a skewed and unhealthy viewpoint. But while I do not have the right to interfere, I DO have the right to state categorically and honestly what MY perception of the dynamic is! As they are entitled to live that relationship as otherwise rational adults, so too do I have the right to state I think it abusive and harmful.
That is what an ostensibly “free” society allows.
JZ, newbie or not, has good instincts (in my viewpoint anyway). “Submission is, for me, a way of integrating and becoming more completely myself. How does participating in the destruction of my self-respect have anything to do with that?”
There are those of course who will argue the opposite – that a submissive must be torn down and “re-created” – that she (for it is ALWAYS a she – another sore point for me – you seldom see male submissives treated in this fashion), but I would argue as Jz does: “So what he'd be getting is no longer something either of us can value. What's the point of that"– and that has always been a point that perplexed me. Why indeed are you trying to completely and utterly alter the essence of the submissive who one could safely assume attracted you for certain innate personality quirks that belong only to her?
And darling M:e focuses on an important part of a dynamic – “D/s has the power to be enhancing to a relationship, but also extremely destructive.” – about which most of my insightful readers have voiced concern – that an M/s or D/s dynamic carries with it not just physical impact and the potential realities of physical harm but almost more potentially dangerous is the emotional blast that can occur when involved in a dynamic which demands giving up not just your body but your will and your heart.
Amber, Sir J. and vanilla imp both question when does a submissive become a victim, and why... and are excellent examples of healthy individuals who are able to recognize the difference bewteen surrender and victimization. I also think Amber night have a good clue in that she points out it is not necessarily the act itself that causes concern, but the “attitude” or manner in which it is vested or received.
And the Imp like a few other commentators bring up something often seen on the web (not sure about real life) wherein the submissive herself somehow sees the ability to take the most extreme form of physical and emotional pain as somehow placing her in a superior position to others. I’m not really sure where this concept arose nor why snagging the badge of the ‘most harmed’ is somehow a positive but it is probably largely responsible for my very short tenure on Fetlife where I found the one-upmanship patently irritating and absurd!
Annie offers an eminently rational explanation – and one with which I wholeheartedly concur. “Self-destructive habits are also an addiction. Emotional pain is something people indulge in as much as any other familiar source of drama and stress.” In a nutshell, I think this probably accounts for many destructive relationships – I know that at one point some time ago I wrote about my own perceptions of those who seek emotional and physical trauma again and again and Annie’s words capture my own thoughts perfectly.
And finally, just to address Florida Dom’s comment: Indeed! that may be so – but I guess your words simply illustrate the point I’m trying to make. Whether a submissive has multiple orgasms or NOT is no indication to my mind that the relationship is in any way healthy or in any SENSE positive to her state of mind.
I absolutely concur that no one size fits all – and reiterate again that I do not consider myself in any way superior or able to pass judgment on other relationships – however, having said that, I still would state categorically and emphatically, many self-labelled D/s or M/s relationships I see out there are not what I personally consider truly indicative of MY perception of the dynamic – and most likely under most circumstances would indeed be labelled clearly and unequivocally ABUSE – orgasms or not.
In the end, each of us must draw our own conclusions.
While I fret (as do many here) about the perceptions and internalization of what to my mind is destructive behaviour in some writings, I also feel that each of us must take responsiblity for making our own choices, drawing our own conclusions and giving to others the same freedom of thought and action to which we are entitled.
At the same time, I will retain my lance and continue to tilt at windmills ....